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Ministry calls for protection of biodiversity

Dec. 19, 2019 3 min read

MASERU - There is an urgent need to conserve our biodiversity as a country, the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture Chief Joang Molapo has said.

The ministry made this appeal at a workshop held in Maseru last Thursday, pointing out towards the eradication of factors contributing to the neglect of biodiversity – which included overgrazing, over-exploitation of biological resource as well as rangeland fires.

Biodiversity is the variety and variability of life on Earth. It is important for mankind and serves as a ‘natural capital’ for sustainable development. It supports lives and livelihoods through supply of supporting, provisioning, regulatory and cultural ecosystem goods and services.Speaking at the event, Chief Molapo said it was critical to preserve biodiversity as “our actions are destroying it.” He made an example of organised agriculture as one of the key contributors to a decline in the protection of animal and plant life as well as the environment.


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Chief Molapo said: “We need to take action and conserve our biodiversity.” An employee of the tourism ministry Ntemohi Maja, charged Basotho were responsible for land degradation “through harvesting and mining natural resources without planting them back and causing pollution”. “This affects our biodiversity,” Ms Maja also showed. The Lesotho Environment Outlook 2014 manuscript shows that Lesotho lies entirely within the Grassland Biome and is incredibly rich in natural and cultural diversity, with its unique habitats and high levels of endemism.

The document states that many Basotho, especially those living in rural areas depend heavily on rangelands, indigenous plant species, wetlands and ecotourism. Ms Maja said they had to work hard to reverse the land degradation and protect biodiversity conservation so that the next generations would be able to benefit from it.

The document further indicates that the government is in the process of developing biodiversity conservation legislation which is intended to harmonise and update existing fragmented legislation.

It states that other promising initiatives that the county has taken to offset some of the threats to biodiversity and especially wetlands include declaration of Letšeng-la-Letsie in the Quthing district as a Ramsar site.

It further shows that the establishment of the Katse Botanical Garden has been helpful, but that efforts should be up-scaled as more projects are implemented.

The Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) meteorologist, ’Malehloa Jockey, voiced concern over several mythical tales harboured by a section of the Basotho who attribute  land degradation to the anger of big snakes relocating, or some female youths who put on short skirts “and anger the ancestors who in turn refuse to bless the land.”Ms Jockey said they failed to comprehend that the major factor that was contributing was climate change.

She said climate change was caused by carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, which formed a blanket in the atmosphere. “They are able to trap the heat in the atmosphere,” she said.Ms Jockey said the residence period of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 120 years and methane is 10 years, and that global potential warming of methane was 25 times as much as carbon dioxide.

 

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